Microsoft and Nokia Unveil New Lumia Phones
Microsoft and Nokia, two companies that have not gotten much traction in the smartphone market, are hoping for another chance. The companies on Wednesday unveiled a Lumia smartphone that includes the Windows Phone operating system — new models of products that have not sold well.
At a news conference in New York, Nokia and Microsoft showed the Lumia 920, a smartphone that includes its camera technology called PureView and a wireless battery-charging capability. It also briefly introduced the Lumia 820, a mid-priced smartphone with exchangeable covers. The smartphones run Windows Phone 8, the latest version of Microsoft’s mobile software system.
“This is the most innovative smartphone in the world,” said Jo Harlow, Nokia’s executive vice president. She said the smartphone takes better pictures and video, especially in low light, than any other phone camera on the market, and that it would include access to Nokia’s mapping database, which provides maps for 200 countries.
Nokia, once the biggest phone maker in the world, was dethroned by Samsung earlier this year. Based in Finland, Nokia has been trying hard to gain a foothold in the smartphone market with its Lumia line. It tried to make a big splash this year with the Lumia 900 on AT&T, which cost $100 with a two-year contract. Both AT&T and Nokia backed this phone with an enormous promotional campaign, but sales were still lackluster.
On Wednesday the company demonstrated a feature called Nokia City Lens, which allows people to point the Lumia camera at restaurants and other local businesses and see reviews digitally overlaid on top of the image. It also showed the Fatboy, a pad that the phone can be placed on to charge its battery.
Microsoft used Nokia’s new phone to rehash some new tools in Windows Phone 8, like the ability to stitch together multiple images into a panorama with a feature called PhotoSynth. Later in the event, Steve Ballmer, Microsoft’s chief executive, said the new Lumia devices foreshadowed a big year for Windows.
“This is a year for Windows,” said Mr. Ballmer, referring to phones, tablets and PCs that would soon run Windows 8 or Windows Phone 8. “All of the devices are designed to be beautiful and functional, to work for you in your personal life and your professional life.”
The companies did not disclose prices or release dates for either of the phones, but said they would arrive in some markets in the the last three months of this year.